Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business,
but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious
selections to help your team from week to week while you strive
to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs, and win the
elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While
I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster,
the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes
to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll
target both offensive and defensive players — sometimes breakout
stars that eluded your team’s draft — as well as players
who can help your squad that may still be lurking in deeper leagues.
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Off the Top - Includes my premier
recommendations — sometimes players available either only
in more shallow leagues, and occasionally guys more readily available
who’ve been thrust into the fantasy spotlight.
Digging Deeper - Covers the next
tier of quality waiver wire specimens, usually players available
in a majority of online leagues.
Scouring the Barrel - Chronicles
the deepest of fantasy adds — and sometimes highlights players
being tacked onto fantasy squads who I don’t have much confidence
Each week, I’ll also provide a brief update on the 30-40 players
I covered the previous week. It’s the best one-stop waiver-wire
column available on the Internet, and it’s only available
here at fftoday.com.
Feedback is always welcome,
appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as
Note: Each player’s
next four matchups are listed in parentheses ()
With many folks dealing with big-time bye week issues, Week Five
is a crucial moment—opening a pivotal stretch that can make
or break playoff hopes. I’m getting you the info you need
to thrash through the waiver wire crops—separating the fantasy
wheat from the chaff.
Off The Top
SEA (JAC, ARI, BYE, @DAL) – If he’s not ready to return, Seneca
Wallace could continue to flourish. But with home games versus
Jacksonville and Arizona scheduled the next two weeks, Hasselbeck
could make a solid bye-week fill-in (QBs with Week Five byes include
Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers; QBs with
byes in Week Six include Tony Romo and Peyton Manning). He may
or may not practice Wednesday, when we’ll have a better idea of
his status for Sunday.
WAS (@CAR, KC, PHI, BYE) – Like the Seahawks QB he’s got a
couple nice matchups the next two weeks and could post QB1 numbers.
After that, things get a little dicey, so get on board now before
his ship sails.
DEN (NE, @SD, BYE, @BAL) – The upcoming schedule’s a bit oppressive
and the prospects of him putting up Jay Cutler-type numbers aren’t
great, but Orton has a good line and shows the ability to make
the necessary throws. His late-game heroics against the Cowboys
on Sunday displayed an emerging rapport with the much-maligned
Brandon Marshall, so he should improve his numbers regardless
of the matchups.
KC (DAL, @WAS, SD, BYE) – If the Chiefs run into more early deficits
and his receivers get healthy, Cassel could have big second-half
value. He’s out there in a bunch of leagues, but could also be
an interesting cog in multi-player deals. In one league I just
moved my backup QB (Ben Roethlisberger) and Willie Parker for
Cassel and Steven Jackson. You could do something similar if you’re
looking for a position upgrade.
Scouring The Barrel
Stafford, DET (PIT, @GB, BYE, STL) – He’s currently listed
as day-to-day with a knee injury (could be dislocated—no official
word yet), and if he doesn’t play this week, he’ll be replaced
by Daunte Culpepper. Regardless of how that pans out, Stafford
needs to cut down on his turnovers, but I still expect a solid
second half from the rookie. Once he makes a few adjustments,
he could be a quality fantasy backup. If Carson Palmer, Tom Brady
or Ben Roethlisberger is your QB1, you might consider Stafford
versus the Rams for your Week 8 bye if all the big names are off
Derek Anderson, CLE (@BUF, @PIT, GB, @CHI) – Since Anderson
took his team within a score of its first 2009 win, he’s
likely earned the starting job for a while. The emergence of Mohamed
Massaquoi to go along with the presence of a few capable receivers
could mean interesting things during late-game deficits. I’m
not exacty bullish, but he could have some value given the right
David Garrard, JAC (@SEA, STL, BYE, @TEN) – Garrard was
the top-scoring fantasy QB last week. Since a guy must be available
in a significant percentage of leagues to be targeted in this
column, this might be the first time in its history that I pegged
the No. 1 QB with my first recommendation.
Shaun Hill, SF (ATL, BYE, @HOU, @IND) – Just 152 passing
yards, but two TD passes made him a viable start.
STL (MIN, @JAC, IND, @DET) – Boller was about as useless as possible
for a fantasy QB, although he only turned the ball over twice.
That’s better than can be said for rookie Mark Sanchez, who had
three INTs and a lost fumble.
Chad Henne, MIA (NYJ, BYE, NO, @NYJ) – Henne’s 115
passing yards and a TD weren’t much, but he led his team
to a big win over Buffalo.
TB (@PHI, CAR, NE, BYE) – 13-for-22 for only 106 passing yards
and a TD, but he had 41 rushing yards on seven carries.
MIA (NYJ, BYE, NO, @NYJ) – White had one carry for -1 yard.
Since the Fins looked good with Henne at the helm, the former
Mountaineer has little fantasy relevance heading into Week 5.
Off The Top
Rashard Mendenhall, PIT (@DET, CLE, MIN, BYE) – Mendenhall
took a big step in shedding his “bust” reputation
Sunday night with a huge two-TD, 191-total-yard performance against
the Chargers. He should be the No. 1 player off the wire this
week in 12-team redraft formats, where he’ll likely be available.
McCoy, PHI (TB, @OAK, @WAS, NYG) – The Eagles get Tampa Bay
at home this week and should have both Donovan McNabb and Brian
Westbrook back in the starting lineup — but that doesn’t mean
McCoy doesn’t have value. Look for a 2-1 touches split for B-West
and McCoy, with the rookie getting plenty of chances to drive
a series or two.
Taylor, MIN (@STL, BAL, @PIT, @GB) – I really like Taylor’s
matchup in St. Louis this week, as Adrian Peterson could yield
a slew of second-half carries to the veteran back if the Vikings
take a big lead. And remember — Taylor’s got great value as a
FLEX in PPR leagues given his versatility on third down.
Sammy Morris, NE (@DEN, TEN, @TB, BYE) – Morris is about
a full tier under Taylor in PPR value, but could see his touches
increase during the next few weeks as the Patriots continue to
throw the ball against some weak pass defenses.
Scouring The Barrel
Moore, PIT (@DET, CLE, MIN, BYE) – Although he only had two
carries for a couple yards, Moore surprised with three catches
for 31 yards and a touchdown, as well as a six-yard touchdown
pass to Heath Miller during the Steelers’ Week Four win. He should
be owned in deeper leagues and considered for his upside when
Willie Parker sits out due to injury.
Forsett, SEA (JAC, ARI, BYE, @DAL) – Forsett saw most of the
touches down the stretch during the Seahawks’ Week Four loss to
the Colts. While Julius Jones remains Seattle’s clear No. 1 choice
to run the ball, you must consider Forsett as a PPR value-add
in deeper leagues.
SF (ATL, BYE, @HOU, @IND) – He had 24 carries for 74 yards and
4/32/0 receiving in the 35-0 beatdown of the Rams—but didn’t reach
the end zone. If Frank Gore is still out, consider Coffee a decent
RB2 or solid FLEX play against the Falcons, who don’t have a great
NYG (OAK, @NO, ARI, @PHI) – Bradshaw suited up Sunday and tallied
64 yards on just 12 carries, bringing his 2009 YPC to 5.64, fifth
in the NFL among RBs with at least 40 carries. No rushing TDs
yet this season, though.
NE (@DEN, TEN, @TB, BYE) – He’s still tops among NE backs for
carries with 45, but had a dull afternoon versus the Ravens defense
(seven carries, 25 yards).
MIA (NYJ, BYE, NO, @NYJ) – Ricky got it done once again on
Sunday, finishing with 85 yards and a score on 16 carries. He’s
a quality RB3 at this point with upside to reach RB2 status if
he remains consistent.
Morris, DET (PIT, @GB, BYE, STL) – Kevin Smith was OK to play
so Morris just backed him up.
CLE (@BUF, @PIT, GB, @CHI) – Harrison had a solid day even though
he fumbled and didn’t reach the end zone: 152 total yards and
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Massaquoi, CLE (@BUF, @PIT, GB, @CHI) – Massaquoi was targeted
13 times by Derek Anderson in Week Four. The only guy targeted
more on Sunday was the Giants’ Steve Smith, who saw 16 targets
from Eli Manning. He’ll be a hot waiver wire pickup this week,
and rightfully so. Massaquoi was signed in late July and with
Anderson’s vertical passing game, could provide a sorely needed
deep threat for the Browns’ veteran QB.
WR Hakeem Nicks, NYG (OAK, @NO, ARI, @PHI) – He’s
available on a bunch of waiver wires because of his injury and
the emergence of Steve Smith as Eli Manning’s go-to guy
in recent weeks. I’m surprised he was back in uniform last
week, and the 54-yard TD catch was a nice sign he’ll be
involved when healthy.
Britt, TEN (IND, @NE, BYE, JAC) – The next few weeks could
present a similar predicament to the one Tennessee found themselves
in during the Jacksonville tilt, where the Titans fell behind
and needed to throw the ball downfield. Britt and fellow wideout
Nate Washington could both make a splash in the next few games.
Miller, PIT (@DET, CLE, MIN, BYE) – Miller caught eight balls
for 70 yards and two TD passes on Sunday night and was targeted
eight times. He’s never been a consistent week-to-week fantasy
performer, but with Antonio Gates, Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey
on their byes this week, he’ll make a solid fill-in with major
TE Marcedes Lewis, JAC (@SEA, STL, BYE, @TEN) – Again, he’s
not a guy you want to start every week, but he could be a popular
pickup this week with a few big-name TE1s on bye.
Scouring The Barrel
TE Sean Ryan, KC (DAL, @WAS, SD, BYE) – He had seven targets
on Sunday against the Giants and finished with 5/58/1 receiving,
but Ryan is not a guy to get too excited about. The young journeyman
TE (on his fourth team in four years) only had six catches for
39 yards in his first three games.
WR Austin Collie, IND (TEN, BYE, @STL, SF) – When Anthony
Gonzalez returns, his value will be minimal, but until then, he
could have some big games as a key cog in Manning’s attack.
Walter HOU (@ARI, @CIN, SF, @BUF) – Both Walter (1/41/0) and
Andre Johnson (2/66/0) had relatively quiet games, but Walter
only had three balls thrown his way to Johnson’s eight. There
will be more targets and better numbers in the coming weeks.
WR Nate Burleson SEA (JAC, ARI, BYE, @DAL) – Burleson’s
worst game of the season so far, he had single-digit targets (eight)
for the first time in four games and caught 4/31/0. He remains
a solid WR3 with upside.
Garçon, IND (@TEN, BYE, @STL, SF) – Garçon had 3/71/0 and
was targeted four times by Manning. He’s a solid week-to-week
plat at WR3 until Gonzalez returns for his big-play ability in
the vaunted Indy offense.
TE Vernon Davis, SF (ATL, BYE, @HOU, @IND) – Davis scored
again this week among his three catches for 43 yards. He’s
quickly rising to TE1 status.
WR Mike Wallace, PIT (@DET, CLE, MIN, BYE) – 2/47/0 shows
and three targets — he’s not a possession receiver
but could have a few big weeks if the run’s not working
WR Andre Caldwell, CIN (@BAL, HOU, CHI, BYE) – He posted
2/26/0 in Week Four versus the Browns. Chad Ochocinco put up a
similar line for the Bengals but got the looks inside the red
zone and had two scores.
Off The Top
LB David Harris, NYJ (@MIA, BUF, @OAK, MIA) – Harris is
a stud who’s still available in a small chunk of leagues
that play only a few IDP positions. He’s primed for a huge
week against the Dolphins, so don’t hesitate with a plug-n-play
here. Seriously—he could easily have 10-15 tackles this
week in Miami.
DL Aaron Schobel, BUF (CLE, @NYJ, @CAR, HOU) – Also available
in a bunch of IDP formats, Schobel is a big play DL who’s
been among the best in the league. The Browns give up big points
to opposing lineman, so I’m recommending you give him a
shot if he’s still out there.
DL John Abraham, ATL (@SF, CHI, @DAL, @NO) – I know—he’s
another guy who’s nearly universally owned in relatively
deep leagues—but he may have been dropped in shallow leagues
where you can’t afford to hold onto extra DL on their bye
weeks. He’s got an excellent matchup in San Fran, where
Hill’s lineman can be beaten for sacks—and that’s
where Abraham can post bug numbers.
LB Chad Greenway, MIN (@STL, BAL, @PIT, @GB) – Greenway,
a gamer who played well Monday night, should be all over the field
(in coverage and on occasional strong-side run and pass blitzes)
against the Rams. Give him a shot if the upper tier of LBs is
gone in your league.
DB Dunta Robinson, HOU (@ARI, @CIN, SF, @BUF) – Robinson
may not be the model of good behavior and tact, but he’s
a veteran DB with a nose for the ball and good tackling ability.
Look for the Cards to target their talented wideouts a ton and
give Robinson frequent opportunities to make plays.
Wimbley, CLE (@BUF, @PIT, GB, @CHI) – I love Wimbley’s upside
this week against a weak Bills’ line and the offense’s propensity
to dump the ball under to Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch. He’s
steadily improving his game, is the clear pass-rush specialist
in the LB corps, and could have a big day in Buffalo.
Scouring The Barrel
Johnson, BAL (CIN, @MIN, BYE, DEN) – He’s coming into his
own on this Ravens defense and should be able to work with Ray
Lewis and Terrell Suggs to blow up the Cincinnati line this week.
The veteran LB from Alabama also had a solid outing in Week Four
versus the Pats.
Doughty, WAS (@CAR, KC, PHI, BYE) – He won the starting job
over second-year man Chris Horton—who only started last season
after Doughty got injured but had a great rookie campaign and
won the 2009 job in early summer. Doughty was more effective in
the first four weeks and has already racked up 24 total tackles
(16 solos in his last two games). He’s a hot hand in the Washington
secondary right now.
Durant, JAC (@SEA, STL, BYE, @TEN) – Six solos, one assist
on Sunday versus the Titans. He’s now got 29 solos on the year,
good for a three way tie for third in the NFL (with IDP studs
Patrick Willis and Curtis Lofton — although Lofton’s only played
DL Shaun Rogers, CLE (@BUF, @PIT, GB, @CHI) – One solo,
one assist. The Bengals O-line did a great job keeping him out
of the backfield. Unbelievable, really. I expect him to bounce
back with some major disruption versus the Bills.
LB Marcus Buggs, BUF (CLE, @NYJ, @CAR, HOU) – Buggs had
nine solo tackles last week against the Fins. Now that’s
what I call a solid spot-waiver-wire addition.
DB Roman Harper, NO (BYE, NYG, @MIA, ATL) – Did I say “Harper?”
Add an “S” to the start of Harper’s name and
you would have had the IDP stud of Week Four.
Hawthorne, SEA (JAC, ARI, BYE, @DAL) – Did not play Week 4
— Lofa Tatupu was back at MLB for the Seahawks.
DL Chris Long, STL (MIN, @JAC, IND, @DET) – Long got shut
out last week against Joe Staley, one of the worst left tackles
in football. I’m cutting bait on Long until further notice.